Abuse is a form of violent, cruel, invasive or demeaning behaviour inflicted on someone by another person.  It can happen to anyone whatever their age, gender or background.  It can scar a person both physically and emotionally and whilst some people will struggle afterwards to come to terms with what happened to them; others might bury their memories as a form of self-protection, only for them to resurface in later life.

Types of Abuse

Physical Abuse

Physical violence can be used to try and control, humiliate or coerce another person and can include: 

·      Hair pulling

·      Hitting

·      Shaking

·      Slapping

·      Kicking

·      Restraining

·      Throwing objects or using weapons

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can involve forcing someone to take part in sexual activity against their will, sexual exploitation or violence such as:

·      Forcing a person to dress in a certain way

·      Taking sexual photographs of them or making them watch pornography

·      Forcing them to have sex by threatening to withhold something

·      Rape

·      Incest

·      Non-contact sexual abuse such as exposure

·      Child molestation

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is where a person manipulates someone and tries to intimidate or coerce them as either a form of control or punishment and can include:

·      Belittling or ridiculing them

·      Making verbal threats

·      Isolating them from friends and family

·      Gaslighting

·      Name calling or making derogatory comments

·      Withholding affection or refusing to acknowledge them

Financial or Material Abuse

Is where a person tries to control someone by using their finances such as:

·      Controlling access to their money

·      Refusing to contribute to joint expenses

·      Steals from them

·      Spends joint funds recklessly

·      Prevents them from taking up employment opportunities

·      Limits how much money they give them if they are the sole earner

Digital Abuse

Is when a person tries to exert control over a person’s social media or technology, often in romantic relationships or young adults. It can involve behaviours such as:

·      Nonconsensual sexting including unsolicited images

·      Cyberbullying

·      Trying to control social media use and obtain passwords


A form of harassment where a person becomes obsessive about someone and can result in them fearing for their safety, it can involve:

·      Physically following them

·      Trying to monitor or intercept their phone calls or emails

·      Lingering around their home, school or place of work

·      Sending unwanted messages or gifts

Mental Health Implications of Abuse

People who have been the victim of abuse can suffer from a variety of mental health issues as a result.  Dependant on the type of abuse they suffered this can include:

·      Anxiety

·      Depression

·      Low self-worth or self-esteem

·      Self-harming

·      Suicidal thoughts

·      Post-traumatic stress disorder

·      Eating disorders

·      Addictions

·      Sexual dysfunction

·      Trust issues and phobias

Professional Help

If you have suffered from or are dealing with any form of abuse you should seek help from a friend, family member, professional organisation or your doctor. They will be able to provide you with help and support and any physical or mental health support you may require.  They can prescribe medications such as antidepressants and mood stabilisers or refer you for therapy which can be tailored to your specific needs.  This can include therapies such as counselling, psychotherapy, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and clinical hypnotherapy.  Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK).  For more free information click above link.